Is Love of Money Really Love at All?

While this is on the heels of the fake ad for Mammon, I actually pondered this quite a while ago.  My wife loves theater, and that love of theater has manifested in various ways, many of which have been quite positive and helpful, particularly with her capacity to connect disparate ideas.  Her love of theater has produced good in her financially, relationally, personally, developmentally, and intellectually.  You could probably add a few other dimensions to this as well.  Love for this thing has produced good.

I think love for many things can produce good, whether it’s theater or knowledge or sports or art.  Yet God specifically singles out money.  You cannot love both God and Mammon.  I started wondering what was so specific about money.

One of the things that occurred to me is that I think few people (other than numismatists) love money for itself.  My wife loves theater because it’s theater.  I don’t think most people love money for itself.  They don’t generally get a smile on their face when they think about a really high quality fifty dollar bill.  They might love it for the security it gives them, the safety net, or for the freedom or power or access to entertainment, but itself?  Do we really love money, or just what it can get us?  And if all we love is what we can get for ourselves, is that love or is it desperation?

But then, so many of the things that money provides are things that we are supposed to look for in God.  Our security is in Him, not in our own power or in the tools that we can use.  Power and freedom just other forms of security if you dig deep enough.  Pleasure is so often abused as a means of distraction, and the best kind is already available for free; God rarely charges for sunsets.

Theater can usurp the place of God, but it doesn’t have to.  Money is almost inevitably a replacement for Him.  You can’t love both God and money because they’re in competition.  Only one will win and ultimately make good on the promises made, of course.  I suppose that’s why He told us to seek the kingdom first.  Everything else is gravy.

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